|Dad (back right) with some of his shipmates.|
These days, though, especially around Memorial Day, he gets a lot of handshakes and thank yous and sometimes an especially nice person will pay for lunch as a gesture of gratitude. He never says much about it, of course, but I can tell it makes him very happy to be remembered even in these small ways. But sometimes, for various reasons, some of ways people react when they notice his LST-118 WW II ball cap are more memorable than others.
|One of the ships Dad was on. He was a gunner's mate.|
I was amazed when we finally rounded the corner into the foyer to find the boy waiting for us at the front door. He hadn’t finished his meal yet. His family was still at their table eating. But he had dashed past us not because he was in too much of a hurry or oblivious to anyone besides himself, but because, as he said, “Holding the door is the least I could do to show my gratitude for your service.”
Dad and I both thanked him. Dad shook his hand and told him how much he appreciated the gesture. We often hear how thoughtless and self-centered “young people today” are. And, yes, many of them are. Many of all of us are. But I’m still smiling when I think of this fine young man, and I’m grateful to whoever has raised him to be kind and respectful. I always try to thank police officers, fire fighters and veterans of all wars when I see them somewhere. This made me want to do it more. It means so much to those who sometimes wonder if their sacrifices go unnoticed. It reminds me how awful it would be if these brave men and women weren’t there during the most difficult times of our lives to do the hard jobs most of us don’t want to do.
On this 74th anniversary of D-Day (the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy which resulted in the Allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany’s control), send up a prayer for those who have been willing to serve, suffer and even die so we can be free and safe. And for those of you who remember and who teach your children what service and sacrifice mean, God bless you!